“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.”
– Luke 11:33.
I have been reflecting a lot recently on all of the ways and forms our Music & Arts Ministry has shown up over my 17-year tenure as your Music and Arts Ministry Director. From that reflection I was inspired to share some of my notes (pun intended) on not only the essence of our ministry, but on all the ways we currently serve you and our beloved community.
We talk about this as ministry and it truly is just that. The consciousness of ministry is first and foremost on my heart and mind as I set about my work and as participants engage in music ministry service. Our spiritual practice begins and ends in prayer, remembering it is ultimately not what we do but who and how we serve that matters. It is in that intention of egoless consciousness that we use our service as an act of devotion, stretching past old limits and ideas into the areas Spirit calls us.
Our ministry embodies music and arts as a universal and profoundly sacred language of the heart. Music and art lifts our spirits and connects us not only to our Divine Inner Essence, but to that Essence in all beings. Those who serve in the Music and Arts Ministry are especially amazing because in addition to the desire to share their musical or artistic skills they come to serve and be orchestrated by the Divine. We experience the shift from performance to ministry through seeking to bring joy and facilitate a deep sense of community through our offerings.
Whether you are conscious of it or not, music and art is woven into almost every aspect of our Unity experience. As director, I am in a unique position to see how it impacts and touches your lives. I often hear from community members how the music you hear on Sundays, in a special service (including our monthly Sacred Circle of Light contemplative service), at a community picnic, or any other setting where live music is offered touches your heart and facilitates your experience of the Divine. It touches my heart to know that the careful and prayerful planning Rev. Carolyne and I do for all the places we offer live music is making such a difference in your experience of worship. We continue to be blessed beyond words by the talent and steadfast presence of our beloved Carol Roman and Richard Jennings. Through music and art we seek to create a field during services which complements and fortifies the receiving and integration of the words and consciousness being offered.
A cornerstone of our Music and Arts Ministry is our Voices of Unity Choir. Our choir continues to offer the opportunity for deep spiritual practice. For some in our choir, singing publicly is not something they would have done before they joined the Voices of Unity. Nearly all of them will tell you the experience they get singing together for our community is beyond anything they could have imagined. We work hard on the music, but consciousness, spiritual focus and growth are always the priority. We open and conclude every rehearsal in prayer and we are invited into deeper and deeper levels of selflessness in our service. It’s so beautiful to see the willingness of the choir members to stay at a growing edge musically, without engaging the story telling part of the ego. Public performing is usually a very ego based activity, which is often totally appropriate elsewhere but in this spiritual practice the releasing of that attachment and ego is part of the practice. It’s amazing to behold the humility our choir members embody in this work.
Over the last several years I have watched as the vision on my heart for increased arts offerings has come to fruition. This vision included broadening the ways that every member of our community can share their passion, creativity and love for this spiritual life beyond the scope of just music alone.
You’ve seen that expanded vision applied to events such as our wonderful Stone Soup creative sharing night, our Artists’ Fair and even the conscious movement classes. That expansion has only served to stoke the creative fires by complimenting and uplifting the music that’s always been a cherished voice for spiritual devotion.
Just like every area of life, something thriving needs renewed energy and support. The heart and consciousness of service sustains us all and keeps our ministry vibrant and alive with Spirit, your spirit. Do you have a skill that is ready to share? I’d love to know about it! Maybe you play an instrument proficiently. Or maybe you appreciate music and want to serve the Music and Arts Ministry in more administrative ways. I’m personally holding the vision for a highly skilled bass player from within our community who wants to share with us and I’d love skillful help with some of the administrative work! If you have a skill or talent to share or are interested in joining the choir, please reach out and let me know.
It has been exciting for me to be a part of the journey some people have taken from community or choir member to Sunday service platform leader to soloist. As we’ve worked together developing both skillset and confidence, they have ultimately gone out to let their light shine on that leap of faith. Whether you are a professional, amateur professional or someone who has always loved music and wants to stretch yourself, there is a place for you. In the safe space of ministry, the qualities of willingness, trust, and growth make it possible to share your gift in the spirit of service to our community and the Divine.